Your support needed for national asthma efforts

Two key federal efforts to reduce the burden of asthma — the National Asthma Control Program (NACP) and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health across the U.S. (REACH) – face a bleak future. President Obama’s budget for 2012 proposes to eliminate REACH completely while slashing funding for the NACP by fifty percent and consolidating it with another federal program.

Even with the very difficult fiscal realities facing the federal government, now is not the time for such drastic cuts, not with rising asthma prevalence and continuing health disparities. According to recent data from the CDC, the number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001-2009. Asthma rates rose the most for black children – almost an astounding fifty percent.

Support from the two programs helps to tackle this challenge head on. For example, the NACP supports asthma data collection and best practices right here in the state through California Breathing and California Asthma Partners. Here at RAMP, as a REACH grantee we’re working with many of you to improve clinical management of asthma; reduce environmental triggers in homes and outdoor air; improve management and reducing triggers in schools and child care settings; and support local initiatives aimed at reducing the inequities that lead to asthma disparities.

Last week, RAMP’s Associate Director Joel Ervice spent several days in Washington D.C. to advocate for both the NACP and REACH. The message he heard from a variety of staff members was clear: our representatives in Congress need to hear from us, and they need to hear right away. Both the Senate and House appropriations process is underway, and the next few weeks are a key moment in our ongoing work to protect asthma and reduce health disparities.

What can you do to help? Three simple actions can make a huge difference.

  • First, sign on as an organization or as a private individual to this letter in support of both REACH and the NACP by emailing joel@rampasthma.org. The sooner you can let him know, the better.
     
  • Second, forward this email along to others that are also concerned about asthma and health disparities and ask them to sign on, too.
     
  • Third, contact your Congressional representatives to express your support for the two programs. Reaching your senators is particularly important. If you live in California contact Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer. Other senators can be contacted by visiting http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

Your support can make a difference. Thank you!

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